Love gone wrong is the subject of a new short film written and directed by Naples filmmaker Alan Kenny Rudolph.
But “The Driskell Defense” isn’t a typical tale of thwarted romance. Instead, it tells the story of Lena Driskell, a resident of an assisted living facility who has an affair with another resident, Herman. When she finds he is cheating on her, Lena reacts with violence.
In mid-July, Rudolph and the film’s cast and crew spent two consecutive weekends at East Naples assisted living facility Barrington Terrace shooting “The Driskell Defense.” The community agreed to be the set for the production.
Rudolph described the film as “a second loss at love.” The Community School of Naples graduate attended New York University and later worked in the New York City film industry for seven years before returning to Southwest Florida. With Tom Cabral, a producer on “The Driskell Defense,” Rudolph created Footnote Studios; the studio’s first production was the satirical film “Good Rules for Badguys,” which played at the 2009 Naples International Film Festival.
Rudolph and Cabral plan to enter “The Driskell Defense” for consideration in national film festivals and in an upcoming Naples International Film Festival as well.
The filmmakers said the idea for “The Driskell Defense” came after Cabral read an article about an ill-fated retirement community romance. The theme of lost love was an appealing one, especially lost love at a mature age, where it may not be as easy to recover. “We just thought that was a really fascinating idea,” Rudolph said. “You don’t hear about it often.”
They also liked the prospect of making “The Driskell Defense” in a style that was “dark film noir,” Rudolph said.
When “The Driskell Defense” begins and all is well with Lena and Herman, the film is lighter and brighter. Then, as events progress and Lena discovers Herman’s infidelity, her inner turmoil and growing obsession is increasingly reflected onscreen. The atmosphere grows darker and more troubled, Rudolph explained, and many of the happier elements that existed in the beginning of the film — such as the bright clothing and sunny weather — are stripped away.
The final film will be 10 to 13 minutes in length, Rudolph said.
Carole Fenstermacher plays the part of Lena. Fenstermacher is a veteran of the Naples theatrical scene, and her credits include productions with the Naples Players and Gulfshore Playhouse.
The six-person cast includes Thomas Noel Smith as the philandering Herman. Victoria Diebler plays Madge and Val Kuffel plays the Friend; Fenstermacher, Diebler and Kuffel all worked together previously in a Naples Players production of playwright Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.”
Fenstermacher describes Lena as a very shy, conservative and reserved widow.
“I think (Herman’s) attraction to Lena is her vulnerability,” Fenstermacher said.
As an actor, being on film is not an entirely new experience for Fenstermacher. A former commercial broadcast producer, she has previously served as a spokesperson. Still, filming “The Driskell Defense” has been different than being on the stage, where an actor has one chance to play it right — and if it’s wrong, all that can be done is to try and correct it during the next night’s production.
“In film, if something’s not going the way you think it should go, usually someone tells you first by yelling ‘Cut,’” she said.
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